How prairie farmers can learn from Quebec

Farmers on the Prairies could learn a thing or two from producers in Quebec. After attending a farm writers’ conference in Quebec City, touring a number of Quebec farms and hearing a presentation from Daniel-Mercier Gouin, chair for the analysis of ag policies, at the University of Laval, some of the differences in Quebec agriculture […] Read more

Most consumers have no idea what GMO really means. All they understand is that it sounds scary and involves corporate agriculture. Therefore, it must be bad.
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Gaining trust difficult when public lacks information

Consumers are always right, even when their views make no sense at all. Among farmers, there’s a growing tendency to despise the nonsensical opinions that are gaining strength among consumers, but maybe we should just pity them for all the conflicting information they receive. A couple years ago, this issue was called social licence. Agriculture […] Read more

Adjust rail revenue cap to encourage investment

Most farmers and farm groups want the maximum revenue entitlement maintained on grain movement by the major railways. The feds are promising to address the future of the MRE in upcoming legislation but haven’t tipped their hand on exactly what they’re planning to do. Without the protection of the MRE, which is also known as […] Read more

Disappointing crop revenue across the Prairies

Despite a large crop, profitability of the grain sector will decline this year. Here’s how crop returns stack up based on Saskatchewan numbers. In Alberta and Manitoba, average yields are somewhat higher, but costs per acre also tend to be somewhat higher so the general trends will be similar in most cases. The yield estimates […] Read more

Plan ahead by evaluating this year’s expenses

As we spend long hours on the combine, it’s natural to reflect on the crop production decisions of the past year and what we want to do differently in the next growing season. Expenses are a big part of decision making and it’s important to look at which expenses were a good investment and which […] Read more

Disease, weeds, flooding take toll on lentil quality

It may be a bit early to call the entire lentil crop a disaster, but it’s certainly going to be a disaster for a lot of growers. With the crop reaching maturity, frequent rains are threatening serious quality downgrades, even on fields that were looking good. To understand why it’s been such an ugly year […] Read more

Farmers need to be alert in turbulent economy

Economic alarm bells are sounding. Even though it’s difficult to identify any immediate threats to agriculture from the financial malaise, it’s best to remain alert in these turbulent times. Crude oil below $30 a barrel and a Canadian dollar below 70 cents seemed unimaginable a couple years ago. Massive job losses are occurring in the […] Read more

Equipment investments critical to bottom line

Few issues in the farm equipment world are black and white, but here are some observations after spending a week in Hannover, Germany, attending Agritechnica, the world’s largest farm equipment show. First, the development and manufacturing of farm equipment is a huge worldwide business with much of the innovation and investment happening in European nations. […] Read more

Running older equipment requires patience

Look beyond the paint. Ugly looking equipment can sometimes be a good buy. That was one of my conclusions while cleaning up and putting away equipment for the winter after a harvest that seemed to go on forever. I have some long-serving pieces of equipment with amazing reliability, and others that have been money pits. […] Read more

Grain commission modernization is too timid

There’s a great deal of agreement among farm groups and grain companies that proposed changes to the Canadian Grain Commission don’t go far enough. Producers are going to be needlessly saddled with extra costs. There are two positive attributes to the Canada Grain Act changes now being rushed through Parliament as part of the massive […] Read more